Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

A Path Appears

  • 46-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 20 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a professional writer with a Master's degree in history
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A Path Appears Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 46-page guide for “A Path Appears” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 20 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Some of the Most Effective Programs Cost Very Little and The Cost-Effectiveness of Early Intervention.

Plot Summary

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity is a nonfiction book published in 2014 by the husband-and-wife team of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book speaks to altruism and how people can do something to promote more opportunities for others around the world. The authors declare, “We wrote this book mostly to encourage others—rich and poor alike—to join in this push to improve the world” (16). They promote three ways of doing so: donating money, volunteering, and advocacy work. They introduce programs to increase opportunity and inform readers how they can get involved.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part consists of 10 chapters, each devoted to a different issue, including prenatal care, early childhood education, the role of hope and grit in the lives of the poor, and sex trafficking. The authors discuss programs currently making progress in each area as well as research showing that with the help of evidence-based studies we can better understand what is most effective in dealing with the area’s issues. The authors emphasize the need for more preventive programs rather than addressing the symptoms of a problem after it occurs. Research overwhelmingly shows that it is both more effective and cheaper to address problems before they begin. Each chapter ends by highlighting the story of a person who is either a donor or recipient of aid.

The second part of the book, entitled “Reforming the Art of Helping,” is composed of four chapters on the changing nature of development work. In recent years, more emphasis has been placed on marketing to inform people about a particular need or an organization working on an issue. This is somewhat controversial because some people expect nonprofit organizations to put every possible penny in the hands of those in need rather than invest in marketing. The opposing argument is that higher expenses for things like marketing can result in greater revenue overall to apply to the issue. Beyond the issue of marketing is whether for-profit organizations—and even corporations—can or should be involved in working toward solutions to social ills. Though it blurs the traditional line between profits and nonprofits, it could help to make organizations self-sustaining.

The final section, entitled “Give, Get, Live,” comprises six chapters focusing on the act of giving and the benefits that accrue to those who give. The authors discuss the brain science involved in altruism, physical and mental benefits of volunteering, and the role of social networks in combining altruism with social events. Regarding the last, organizations have had success harnessing the power of social networks in spreading the word about campaigns and raising money. Two appendices close the book, the first being “A Gift List,” in which the authors provide several gift suggestions for birthdays and holidays at price points ranging from $25 to $300. The second appendix is a much longer “List of Useful Organizations,” arranged alphabetically, with a brief description for each one.

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